Mercury's Comet-Like Tail
Universe Today Download time: Sep 24 2010 7:16 AM ET
The STEREO mission to study the Sun also has observed some unusual comet-like features exhibited by the planet Mercury, with a coma of tenuous gas surrounding the planet and a very long tail extending away from the sun. These types of features had been seen before from telescopes on Earth, but the STEREO observations are helping scientists to understand the nature of the emissions coming from Mercury, which might be different from what was previously thought.
Another note of interest: the tail in the STEREO data was actually discovered by a fellow blogger, Ian Musgrave, who writes Astroblog. He is a medical researcher in Australia who has a strong interest in astronomy. Viewing the on-line data base of STEREO images and movies, Dr. Musgrave recognized the tail and sent news of it to a team of astronomers from Boston University to compare it with their observations.…
See Universe Today for links to further info.
Also see this Dome News item.